kids eating lunch

4 Ways To Reduce Food Waste When Your Kids Are Fussy Eaters

kids eating lunch

Most parents will be familiar with the routine of spending time cooking what they think will be a hit meal only for the kids to leave lots on their plates contributing to food waste. As we all tighten our belts with energy increases and of course, want to help the planet, food waste is high on the country’s agenda and on our minds at home.

Thankfully help is at hand!

Fussy eaters are a tricky minefield (my eldest child, Oliver, has always been one, my other two kids, raised exactly the same, love mosts food) but according to London-based zero-waste takeaway subscription brand DabbaDrop, all hope is not lost as there are a few things you can do to hreduce food waste.

DabbaDrop was founded in 2018 by mums Renee Williams and Anshu Ahuja after they were both looking for a career that accommodated their childcare needs, love of delicious yet nutritious food, and passion for reducing the UK’s food waste problem. So far in the brand’s journey, it has saved over 2,500kg of food from going to waste.

Without further ado, these ladies kindly share four ways you can limit food waste when cooking for little ones and banish food from the bin for good. Funnily enough I went to uni with Anshu so it’s doubly lovely to share her new business and know-how with you all.

Serve your meals family-style

Serving dinner yourself onto each child’s plate might seem like the most efficient way to make sure everyone has a bit of everything, but it might be contributing to your household’s food waste. In addition, it could cause disordered eating later in life if you’re insistent they eat everything on their plate. Use serving plates on the table with the food instead so the children can help themselves and decide what it is they want to eat from the selection. Picnics or small buffet style spreads, perhaps on a weekend, can help with this too.  This way, there isn’t going to be left over food on the plates thrown away and the children won’t feel guilty for leaving any food uneaten.

baby eating

Know your serving sizes 

When making packed lunches, providing too much food for your children means they’re always going to come back from nursery or school with leftovers in their lunchbox. Most of the time, the servings we think are appropriate size are actually much more than a child needs. A serving of fruit or vegetables for young children will fit in a muffin case and one serving of bread is half a slice. Think half an egg to a whole egg, too. It’s important to consider these small portions in order to minimise food waste and tailor packed lunches to your children’s appetites.


Keep it simple

Children are much more likely to reach for simple food they’re familiar with rather than be adventurous and explore complex flavours so use this to your advantage to reduce food waste. Sandwiches, crackers, sliced banana and apple and carrot sticks with dips are great choices to serve for lunch and as long as it includes a couple fruits and vegetables, their lunch boxes will provide a balanced meal whilst also including some of their favourite snacks and treats. As they grow older, children will be more inclined to explore different flavours so don’t worry about them missing out on other foods.


Make food fun to eat

Children are drawn to colour and you can use this to try and discourage food waste. Eating ‘a rainbow a day’ is a great way to introduce plenty of healthy foods and children will be more inclined to try each other. Red tomatoes, oranges, yellow peppers, green apple, blueberries and purple broccoli are a few contenders to have fun with food. Presenting foods in cut out shapes is also a great option as it’s visually pleasing. You can cut cucumbers into hearts or stars or use funky shaped cookie cutters to cut sandwiches (with this one, you get to eat the leftover pieces).


Not only will these tips help to reduce your food wastage but will inject some fun into lunch boxes and meal times that the whole family can enjoy.

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